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Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. In this breakthrough guide to understanding, treating, and healing Attention Deficit Disorder, Dr. Gabor Mat , an adult with ADD and the father of three ADD children, shared the latest information on:...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Maybe the most original book about ADD & most ignored

Mate offers a very fresh, insightful interpretation of ADD as a cognitive vulnerability that may or may not manifest itself, or manifest itself in varying degrees depending on one's environment. In this sense, the book takes a ecological approach to the problem; ADD, according to the author, is not biological determinism and it's not cultural construct and it's not some conspiracy to keep certain children in their place and it's not a pharmaceutical ploy for more business. Anyone who has taken prescribed Ritalin knows it's about the cheapest prescription drug on the market (and has been around nearly the longest). The author simply points out that according to current and provisional informed research (and research can only be provisional unless we can stop time), the idea that symptoms of ADD are a result of many forces--chemical, environmental, cultural, and developmental--just makes sense. Since Mate's analysis is moderately complex in comparison to most analyses in most popular ADD books, it may turn off those who want a quick pat explanation to the "disorder." The author is a doctor with ADD; so his analysis is both research oriented and phenomenological. He is also smart enough not to use the word "prove" in his book because he knows he isn't proving anything: he is simply making his own best inferences based on current knowledge. He makes sense; and he adds to the current literature on the subject. If you have been diagnosed with ADD, you will nod your head in agreement through much of the book. The author also has a gift for writing, having been a former English teacher. Thus, his language is on a level of sophistication which does justice to the subject, and lends his observations authority. This is far different from the "cookbook" breezy style of so many other authors who address the subject.

Merlin:"The best thing for being sad is to learn something."

Having been in therapy longer than Woody Allen, I practice what Karl Menninger called `bibliotherapy'-i.e., reading widely and deeply in the field of mental or emotional disorders. Since I'm a voracious reader, and since I've been doing this for twenty years, I sometimes feel there isn't much left for a layman to learn, or at least nothing much that could be called new. But Dr. Mate's book is wonderfully helpful on two fronts: first, it is a "why-you-or-your -child-are-like-this" book, and second, it is a "and-here-is-what-you-can-do-to-allieviate-the-condition"book. Not cure it, mind you, just make the cards you drew a little easier to play.On the first front, the neurobiology of ADD, Dr. Mate makes his point conclusively: this disorder arises first in the infant, in how he or she is wired-or not-and it occurs in the make-up of the hypersensitive baby, highly aware and from the very beginning suffering at the smallest slings and arrows life offers. Resilient children roll with the punches; ADD kids are flattened by them and get back up more slowly. Momma used to call this type "high-strung" and, boy, was she ever right. Dr. Mate even points out a study done on the vagus nerve of five-month old babies that turns out to be highly predictive of which of them will later, at fourteen months, prove to be "more reactive to maternal separation." In other words, ADD could as well serve as an acronym for Attachment Deficit Disorder. People who are hypersensitive have a disordered attachment to their caretakers that is pre-verbal and pervasive. One had better learn to deal with the fact that the fault is mainly synpatical, not social. My family doctor told me that my then-nine-year-old son suffered from severe separation anxiety because he hadn't been in pre-school or away from his parents enough. Fortunately, a more knowledgeable child psychiatrist said it was inborn so we could relax and quit blaming ourselves. Whew....That doesn't mean that experiencing this hypersensitivity isn't damaging, even with a more-than-good-enough mother. Or that nurturing a hypersensitive child is easy. It is much more tiring and trying to deal with the ADD child than it is with his or her more resilient sibling.The ADD child triggers anxiety in even the most competent parent. So, it is on the second front, the practical things to do, that this book is most helpful, even hopeful. I return to it again and again (that is, when I haven't mislaid it in one of my more driven ADD moments) to remind myself what to do and what not to do to help myself and my similarly-wired son. For instance, the section on the counter-will-an idea I'd not heard before-made me understand why I am more often than not so suspicious of authority figures. I used to think it was very adolescent of me, and now Dr. Mate tells me it is, and that this is a component of ADD. It was from this notion of a counter-will that I began my search on ways to strengthen the will itself, so as to disengage this adve

Applauding Gabor Mate

I applaud Gabor Mate for the remarkable contribution he has made to the literature on Attention Deficit Disorder in his book Scattered. Due to both personal and professional interest, I have read and recommended many books and articles on this topic. I find that Scattered has become the first book I recommend to colleagues, clients and anyone interested in learning about, or ruling out ADD. Feedback is consistent with my own reaction--this is a comprehensive and insightful book--an easy, informative, valuable, read for professional and lay people. The role of biology/nature is described so well that the non-scientific reader gains a new level of understanding. When it comes to the role of nurture/environment--Mate truly shines-- capturing the experience of ADD with an insiders wisdom and a refreshing openess, bringing the reader understanding, comfort, hope and pathways to healing. The material on parenting (ADD and the child) is excellent---could be part of a parenting handbook. His writing on change and growth and his understanding of what causes adults to struggle have value across the board --whatever the issues are. One does not have to have, or work with ADD to enjoy and benefit from Scattered.

An insightful, humane perspective

The ADHD world seems to have split into several definable camps -- the neo-Darwinist doomsayers like Barkley who say flat-out that ADD is "of no value whatsoever" and is purely a sickness; the deniers like Breggin and Rush Limbaugh who think it's a conspiracy by doctors or liberals; the geneticists like Comings who suggest ADDers shouldn't breed to keep from contaminating our gene-pool; and those like Lucy Jo Pallidino who consider it a "context disorder," a collection of traits that may be useful in some times and places but is generally not a good match for the way our schools are currently set up (I consider myself in this category). Now comes Gabor Mate, an insightful, no-nonsense, and thoroughly compassionate physician who provides an overview of all these perspectives and comes to the marvelously humane conclusion that ADD/ADHD is neither nature (genetics) nor nurture (parenting/environment) but, rather, the result of the collision of a predisposing nature with an ADD-hostile life situation, family, school, or job. How refreshing! Gabor Mate has made a valuable contribution to the ADD/ADHD world, and this book not only offers thoughts on what it is and where it came from, but also is chock full of useful, real-world solutions for the problems people with ADD confront in a world increasingly run by bureaucrats and farmers. Highly recommended! --Thom Hartmann

An excellent, well researched book . Highly recommended.

Dr. Mate, who has ADD himself and who is the father of three children with ADD, provides information about brain development and theorizes that ADD results from problems in bonding that effect brain development. He discusses addiction as related to ADD and the lack of bonding. He provides a method of treatment that addresses the underlying dynamic rather than dealing more superficially. As someone with ADD myself, experience in working with autistic and learning disabled children, and a strong interest in curative emotional relationships, I have found this book incredibly insightful and useful. It is strongly recommended to professionals as well as clients and families. It is written with respect and compassion and refrains from blaming parents for their children's difficulties.
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